Maserati Mistral, Chev Bel-Air, Lincoln Continental - Ones That Got Away 450

By: Cliff Chambers

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Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...

Maserati Mistral - Advertised April 1996

Maseratis from the 1960s seem to be the poor relation when pitted against Ferrari and Lamborghini offerings from the same era. However, this stunning coupe with its Frua bodywork is the exception. The Mistral appeared in 1964, replacing the Sebring and with the same 4.0-litre engine. Coupe production stopped at 828 units and there were only 120 open-top Spiders, so those can make close to $1 million in overseas sales. How many coupes exist in Australia isn’t easy to determine and if we said five that might be too many. Prices continue to climb.

Was $89,000. Now: $320,000-350,000


1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air hardtop - Advertised April 1992


If this lovely Bel-Air had been built in 1957 the ‘Now’ price would certainly be nudging six figures. Anything from the early years of Chevrolet’s V8 adventure does well in a nostalgic market but none attract buyers with bulging wallets in the way a two-door Bel-Air does. Cars like this were not sold new into Australia so all in our market are more recent arrivals. This one being sold back in the 1990s would not have required its RHD conversion and with these cars becoming more valuable there is justification for returning the wheel to its original location.

Was: $30,000. Now: $80,000-85,000


1963 Lincoln Continental - Advertised November 1990


If you are aged 60+ (or younger and a student of US history) then the word that springs to mind upon seeing this car will be ‘Kennedy’. This was the very model of Lincoln in which the last US President to be assassinated was travelling when the fatal shots were fired. Yet notoriety has not pushed values to extreme levels. Unlike 1960s Cadillacs which came here in significant numbers, Lincolns weren’t popular with Australian buyers and they remain scarce in this country. Convertibles are gaining value faster than sedans.

Was: $9500. Now: $40,000-50,000


MGB GT V8 - Advertised May 1988


By the time Rover’s alloy V8 found its way under the bonnet of a B GT, the end of the road for MG’s biggest seller was clearly visible. Emission rules ironically ensured that an engine designed in the USA couldn’t be sold there and none came though official channels to Australia either. This is an early car with a roll-back vinyl sunroof suggesting it might originally have been sold in Britain and brought here as a private import. In common with other MGs, values haven’t set any records during the past 35 years but if you bought this car you won’t have lost out either.

Was: $19,500. Now: $40,000-45,000


From Unique Cars #450, March 2021

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